Today’s side deal offers cottage fever as an antidote for cabin fever. Escape to the pastoral paradise of The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, flanked by the natural bounty of Hocking Hills State Park. For $190, this Groupon gets you a night’s stay in one of the Inn’s cozy cottages ($179–$249 value), where unwinding is the only action item. Turn up the romance dial with that special somebody or something as you enjoy a $25 gift certificate towards any spa service, goodies including chocolates and other tasty treats ($45 value), and a complimentary full country breakfast, a combined value of $319. The warm, freshly baked cookies that greet you upon arrival are a delicious signifier of the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls' dedication to hospitality and personalized customer care.
Tee Jaye's founders began preparing homestyle meals in 1970, a venture that spawned a string of 24-hour diners stuffed with delicious country fare. An egg-centric medley of dishes graces the all-day breakfast menu, with options such as the barnyard buster ($5.10)—two biscuits, two eggs, and country fries wallowing in a puddle of Tee Jaye's famous sausage gravy—and the sunshine sandwich ($6.95), grilled sourdough trapped under stacks of cheddar, swiss, ham, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. Turn to the lunch-and-dinner menu to find the answer to the sphinx's riddle ("sweet tea") as well as a spread of classic country-kitchen eats, including the chicken-fried chicken ($8.25), homemade meatloaf and dressing ($7.75), and Granny's grandburger ($7.95), a half-pound beef patty served with fries and a choice of three toppings. A tot-thrilling kids' menu ($2.49/breakfast; $3.49/lunch and dinner) and a crisp collection of summer flatbreads ($6.95+) round out the restaurant's dining selections.
The zipline course at Valley Zipline Tours speeds danglers over the scenic Northern Hocking Hills in spectacular fashion, whisking them along a series of lines that extend to more than 1 mile in total length. First, a friendly guide drives the zippers up to the top of the valley, where they don their safety equipment and then zoom down the first five lines as a warm-up to the following three, known collectively as the Valley Super Lines. Starting at line 6, the journey whips riders across the valley and lake for distances of nearly 1,000 feet each and at more than 100 feet off the ground, reaching speeds of 55 miles per hour. To cap off the high-speed trip, a valley swing awaits at the end of the tour attached to the edge of a tower, inviting participants to jump and swing over the valley while suspended at more than 50 feet.
Butch's dedicated chefs build each of their Italian dishes from scratch, flavoring meats and pastas with sauces and dressings made fresh daily. They crown breaded chicken parmigiana with marinara, mozzarella, and grilled mushrooms, and they ladle crimson meat sauce over penne with grilled shrimp. In the dining room, marigold walls surround tables weighed down by thick cuts of lasagna, and a shiny, mocha-hued floor yields a mirrored reflection.
Craig and Laura Decker seem to have a difficult time making up their minds. They also seem to have a knack for turning this indecisiveness into an advantage at every turn. When it came to opening their new business, for example, they briefly wondered whether it should feature a wine shop, a wine bar, or a gourmet bistro. Their solution? All three.
This spirit of inclusivity pervades The Wine Guy Bistro, where the Deckers pair seasonal wine varietals with globally inspired cuisine. Rather than choose between European elegance and New-American pizzazz, they settled on a compromise they describe as “Old World chic.” This label suits a menu that features small plates of housemade meatballs and bruschetta alongside assorted cheeses from around the world. The focus on small plates is in keeping with the Deckers’ have-it-all mentality and gives diners the option to sample several dishes without having to barter with adjacent tables.
Servers, arms laden with tacos, burritos, and fajitas, pass through rounded colonial doorways en route to Zapata's Grill colorfully decorated tables, which are adorned with bright folk art inspired by the founder's roots in Jalisco, Mexico. Images of orange suns cast a cheery glow on authentic Mexican fare such as grilled steak, saut?ed seafood, slow-cooked pork, and fresh vegetables, and green cacti painted on seatbacks try to nab a stray chili relleno with their thorns. Bartenders blend margaritas by the goblet and pitcher, pour cocktails conceived south of the border, and fill frosty glasses with domestic and imported brews.